Victoria-based composites manufacturer, Aluula Composites, has partnered with the University of British Columbia (UBC) to develop recycling processes for its high-performance ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) off-cuts and end-of-life products. The collaboration aims to address the challenge of reducing waste and extending the lifespan of materials by developing a recycling process for its products.
Traditionally, composite materials are made by gluing different core layers and outer films together to create fabrics for various product applications. However, Aluula has developed a unique patented fusion process that fuses fibers and technical films together without the use of glues, creating lightweight, strong, and durable fabrics that are also ready for recycling.
In the initial project with UBC’s Composites Research Network, Aluula compressed its material off-cuts and end-of-life products into uniform, lightweight, and ultra-durable panels. The unique feature of these panels is that they retain the specialized UHMWPE fibers of the original Aluula materials throughout the recycling process. This results in extraordinary fiber-reinforced composite panels that are ten times stronger than those molded from virgin UHMWPE.
These fiber-reinforced composite panels have numerous applications, from backpack panels to low friction wear plates. Working with UBC Manufacturing Engineering students, Aluula is developing and refining applications for these panels that exploit their inherent light and strong material properties. They are also developing an end product that can be recycled multiple times, significantly lengthening the lifespan of the materials.
According to Aluula’s composites material scientist, Samuel White, working with UBC students on these ultra-strong and ultra-durable products is proving invaluable in refining the company’s processes to ensure the recyclability of Aluula materials. The company’s COO, John Zimmerman, adds that Aluula has proven that sustainability and outstanding performance can coexist without compromise. “We look forward to leading the composite industry towards a more sustainable future,” he says.
The partnership between Aluula and UBC highlights the growing demand for sustainable materials in manufacturing. With the development of a recycling process for its products, Aluula is leading the way in reducing waste and extending the lifespan of materials. As more companies adopt sustainable practices, the demand for recycled materials is likely to increase, driving innovation and collaboration in the industry.
In conclusion, the collaboration between Aluula Composites and UBC to develop recyclable ultra-strong panels is a significant step towards a more sustainable future. By developing a recycling process for its products, Aluula is demonstrating that outstanding performance and sustainability can coexist without compromise. This partnership is a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in addressing the environmental challenges facing the manufacturing industry.